Relief for teaching shortage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Relief for teaching shortage

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December 11, 2002

Albany -- With a shortage of teachers, the state of Georgia has been recruiting people to the field of education. It appears that push, and the sagging economy, has more college students in Southwest Georgia looking toward teaching as a career.

Darton College Sophomore Lekeshia Barney wants to be a early childhood teacher. Barney said "To know that I can impact children's lives. That's very important to me."

Brie Bjerregaard is a Darton Sophomore studying to become a high school English teacher. Bjerregaard said "I'm not really chasing it for the money. But I think it is getting better. It's getting more recognition, so I think in the long run it probably will be better off."

Darton has an 11 percent increase this year in students in education studies. Darton Education Program Coordinator Wendy Kennedy said "Everyone is aware now of the shortage in the field of teaching. And I think it's probably encouraging some people who may not have actually thought about it to start with as a job, now are saying this is a good area."

Georgia has had a hard time retaining teachers, who complain of low pay, long hours, and mountains of paperwork and regulations to deal with. But teaching still sounds like a good job to these students.

Barney said "Sitting in the classroom, talking to other teachers, they complain about the pay. Complain about teaching say-so. They don't have much control in the classroom."

At Albany State University, Joycelyn Hagan has been an 8th grade teacher for 4 years. Hagan will graduate Saturday with her specialist program degree in educational leadership. She is one of 45 specialist program graduates, as teachers look to improve their job standing.

 Hagan said "There are complaints in any job, but I look at the rewards at the end. Watching my students success. Go on to high school and come back and tell me all the good things they have learned from me."

The Georgia Department of Education expects a large shortage of teachers by 2006, because of expected retirements of current employees and reduction in classroom size.

posted at 2:41 by jimw@walb.com